I grew up in a small town in Texas and never once moved in the first 18 years of my life. After college I could not wait to explore the world and moved to Japan to teach high school on a military base. While there I truly discovered my love of traveling and seeing as much of the world as I could. When I married someone in the military and returned to the states, I wanted to keep learning about new places and cultures and discovered hosting exchange students. My children were only 2 and 3 the first time we hosted a student, and every year they look forward to having a new brother or sister come into our home. Hosting for our family has allowed us to add members who live all around the world and make us a better family for having them in our home.
International exchange allows us to gain a perspective that many of us would never glimpse otherwise. It is important for our students to come here and experience life as an American teenager, just as it is important for us to understand what their life is like at home. This program allows families to learn how to make sushi, say hello in Dutch, goodbye in Chinese and sing Christmas songs in French. Hosting brings another culture into your home and sends a piece of ours back to theirs. It creates lifelong relationships that lead to trips to Europe, Asia and South America. The exchange student enters our home a stranger and leaves with a part of your heart. I believe that these experiences can impact the world in our tolerance and understanding of one another.